Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24170/Araucaria

Posted by linxit on August 31st, 2007

linxit.

Well, my Internet connection seems fine this morning, so hopefully that means they’ve fixed it properly this time! Anyway, as a few people have already commented, this was an absolute beast of a puzzle. It took me just under an hour, but that was with Bradford’s and Chambers out, and in one case Google (18d). I wasn’t helped by the fact that the instruction about across entries being anagrams of their opposite numbers was missing from my printout version (although it’s there now).

Across
8 C,ASH,MERE – nice straightforward wordplay, good humorous definition. Put me off my guard!
9 TINS,EL – more like Araucaria. “online” = “on line”, line being EL (short for ELevated railway).
10 SKI,N – Calling a ski “footwear” is a bit naughty, but accurate I suppose. To skin is to swindle.
11 SEA C(“Sikh”),APT,A,IN – “I skip” means “I am the skipper”.
14 ASP,(IR),ANT – didn’t like this one – an asp doesn’t sting!
15 WE,AT HER – Guardian = WE is quite common, very tricky definition though. One of the last ones I put in, even though I had guessed by then that it would be an anagram of 17.
17 W(R,EAT)H.E. – another one I wasn’t keen on, because of the r-rust = R-EAT bit. This is a construction that only Araucaria and Azed use, and to me it seems lazy – and, once you’ve seen it a few times, a bit of a giveaway.
20 PAR(rap rev.),TISAN(e)
22 CAST,RO – man of faith because Fidel means faith, I guess. I can’t figure out how RO = “on one side” though.
23 ANAPAESTIC – “cit. sea Pan a” reversed. Two short syllables followed by a long syllable.
25 SI(LEN)T – I wonder if this clue has a typo in it. “Dumb boy in post”. I think it should be “Dumb boy in pose”, because I can’t see how post = sit.
26 MARCH,ESE

Down
1 B(ACK)ACH,E – ack = old letter, being an old signallers’ name for A.
2 W,HEN – as in the phrase “Say when” while pouring someone a drink.
3 CENSU(re),S
5 STRAPPER – “rep parts” reversed. Chambers says “A person who works with straps, esp a groom.”
6 UNI,TAR,1,ANS
13 OUT,STEPPE,D – I put in OVERTOPPED at first, which seriously held me up with 15ac.
16 ENS,HEATH
18 HAR(K)NESS – thanks to Google, I know what an Ena Harkness rose is now. “In harness” means “working”, hence “not yet retired”.
19 A,NATO,MY!
21 AEN(Ena*),EID – Eid being a Muslim festival.
22 CICERO(ne) – Cicero was a Roman orator, but he would have been able to speak Greek as well.
24 SO,HO – I guessed there must be a Greek Street in Soho.

12 Responses to “Guardian 24170/Araucaria”

  1. petebiddlecombe says:

    Just had a call from Andy to say that because of a combination of real life busy-ness and internet connection problems, you’ll have to wait a day or so for this report.

  2. muck says:

    Look forward to seeing the blog on this one. The GU download Screen version had ‘Special Instructions (8ac is an anagram of 26ac; 9ac of 25ac etc)’. The Print version I was using didn’t include this information. Presumably it was in the newspaper.

  3. radchenko says:

    The instruction is in the paper. It doesn’t help much. The puzzle is an absolute beast, in the same category as the double puzzle; although you can’t help but admire the construction and the inventiveness of the clues, even as they drive you round the bend. It has taken me best part of 2 hours to do, although that included half an hour of increasing desperation until I managed to do one, just one, of the little blighters. After that it was just grinding away, and I admit to a certain amount of help from my friends, Mr Roget and Mr Google.

  4. Fletch says:

    I can’t see Araucaria complaining about the delay.

  5. muck says:

    Even after learning of the across anagrams and getting a few answers, I gave up! Yes, a real beast.

  6. Shirley says:

    16D can anyone explain why ENS HEATH is right? Heath is obviously the former premier, and to ensheath is to put into container, but where does the ENS come from?

  7. linxit says:

    ENS is a word meaning “being or existence; an entity, as opposed to an attribute” (quoting from Chambers). It’s more often seen in advanced cryptics like the Listener or Azed.

  8. radchenko says:

    Isn’t 26ac MARCH (move) + E (London) + SE (Dover)?

    Almost every clue has some level of indirection, even 8ac (“straightforward wordplay”, yeah, right :-), but CASHMERE = “feast for moths”!!! Probably reaches its peak in 15ac (anti-feminist guardian = WE AT HER; will be talked about, indeed.

    An education in itself: strapper being a groom, a harkness rose, ens an entity, etc etc etc.

    Extraordinary puzzle. Unlike the double puzzle, which was just an auden-ary puzzle. (I’ll get my coat.)

  9. linxit says:

    8ac – well, I see what you mean but I spotted it straight away, so…

    26ac – I don’t see how E = London. I read it as instructions on how to get from London to Dover, i.e. “March East-South-East”. I’m not sure how geographically accurate that is though!

  10. Stan says:

    25a “sit” is an abbreviation for “situation” as in “sits. vacant”

  11. radchenko says:

    I thought E was London (the city) postcode. But then again, so is SE. Who knows. But if I want to get to Dover from London I’ll use the M2.

    Thanks Stan for the post = sit explanation. I didn’t get that either.

  12. Colin Blackburn says:

    I don’t recall the number of the clue that was opposite CASTRO but the clue went something like:

    Castor, cast or cast?

    I took it was an anagram of OR CAST or CAST OR (rather than CASTOR) and so decided that COSTAR was the answer, Castor being the co-star of Pollux. When nothing else fitted I went for ACTORS and then promptly decided CASTOR was the answer to 22 despite not knowing where the OR came from. Not a great start and so I abandoned the puzzle in favour of the Listener.

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